It is a way to solve problems. Do you have any problems to solve? Any big or any small ones?
Any of these sound familiar? Where are my shoes? What should I have for lunch? What class do I have next? Did I do my homework for that class? Which deodorant works the longest?
Scientists use this method to answer these questions… Are viruses living organisms? How do birds know where to fly in the winter? How do cancer cells function? How can we stop cancer cells from functioning in this way?
The types of questions scientists ask may vary (be different), but the steps they use to solve the problem is always the SAME. Civil engineer may ask, “How much weight can this bridge I am designing can hold before it falls.” Geneticist may ask, “What about this persons DNA code is different to make them have cystic fibrosis?” Forensic Scientist may ask, “Whose blood was left here at the crime scene?”
WOW! So what are the steps? 1.) Ask a question 2.) Observation and research 3.) Form a hypothesis 4.) Test the hypothesis 5.) Analyze your data 6.) Form a conclusion 7.) Communicate results
By following these steps in order you will learn about your question.
Problem/Question This is the question that you are trying to answer or problem that you are trying to solve. Try to narrow it down and be very specific. Examples: Where did I leave my shoes last night? Is mold a living organisms?
Information Gather data about your question. - Books Journal Reports Experts Your past experiences Examples: When I came home from soccer practice I ate dinner, went to my room to do my homework, then took a shower, then went to bed Living things are made of cells, can move, can carry out chemical reactions, grow, be responsive to the environment, reproduce, and die Plants can move, use energy, grow, change when the climate around them changes, reproduce, and die
Hypothesis A testable statement based A prediction based on data background information you just gathered What you think the answer is based upon the background information you just gatheredExamples: If my shoes are in the house then I will find them in the kitchen, my bedroom, or the bathroom. If my shoes are in the house then I will find them in the kitchen, my bedroom, or the bathroom. If plants are living then they will have cells If plants are living then they will have cells
Test the Hypothesis/ Experiment Has two parts, materials and procedure. Materials is a specific list of equipment that you will need for the experiment. Procedure is a list of step-by-step instructions that you need to follow for the experiment. Someone else should be able to read your procedure and do the experiment without your help!
Test the Hypothesis/ Experiment Materials: ◦Myself Procedure: 1. I will walk into the kitchen and look for my shoes 2. I will go to my bedroom and look for my shoes 3. I will go to the bathroom and look for my shoes
Test the Hypothesis/ Experiment Materials: ◦3 samples of leaves (different types) ◦1 light microscope ◦3 microscope slides ◦3 microscope cover slips ◦1 pair of forceps ◦1 50mL beaker containing water ◦1 plastic pipet Procedure: 1. Using the forceps, gently remove a 3mm X portion of one sample 2. Place this sample in the center of a microscope slide 3. Use the plastic pipet to draw up water from the beaker 4. Add 2 drops of water from the pipet onto the center of the leaf sample on my microscope slide. 5. Place a cover slip directly over the sample. 6. Turn on the light microscope 7. Place the slide on the microscope. 8. View the sample on 4X objective, then 10X objective, and then on 40X objective 9. Look for cells 10. Finally, do the same for the remaining 2 samples
Analyze Data Collection of information and data from the experiment. It may be charts, graphs, or written work. This is WHAT HAPPENED! Examples: Shoe Location Table Shoes Present Shoes Not Present KitchenNoYes BedroomNoYes BathroomYesNo Plant Cell Table Cells Present Cells Not Present Sample #1YesNo Sample #2YesNo Sample #3YesNo
Conclusion What did you find the answer to the question was? Are there any variables that could have caused my results to be wrong? What changes could I make next time I test it? Are there any new questions? It is OKAY if it turns out that your hypothesis was not correct. You learned!
Communicate your results One of the most important parts of the scientific method is to report to others your findings. This helps others learn and develop their own new questions.